CJC Student Spotlight: Yebin Won (SFS ’22)

This month, the Center for Jewish Civilization is reintroducing its Student Spotlight Series! This month’s spotlight is Yebin Won, a sophomore in the School of Foreign service majoring in International Politics with a concentration in Security Studies. Recently, she was awarded funding to conduct independent research this summer. The Lisa J. Raines Fellowship provides up to $5,000 in funding for successful applicants; 66 Georgetown students have won the award in the past 20 years. Won, who is from Singapore and Seoul, South Korea, will conduct research on the incel movement this summer. In the fall, she plans to study ethnopolitical conflicts at Oxford University. Read our interview with her below to learn about her research interests and experience on the Hilltop.

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Q: Could you tell us about how you joined the CJC? What were some of the push factors?

A: I first learned about the CJC while being in Prof. Berlinerblau’s freshman proseminar, Fictions of Politics and International Relations. I came to Georgetown interested in learning about genocide prevention and ethnopolitical conflicts. After talking with Prof. Berlinerblau, CJC staff, and students about the center, I knew CJC was the place for me. Everyone was so sweet and welcoming whenever I was at the Center, and as a brand-new freshman I was drawn to its sense of community and warmth. It also didn’t hurt that Prof. Berlinerblau is very persuasive!

Q: What was you first CJC class?

A: My first (and favorite) CJC class was Holocaust Forensics with Fr. Desbois and Fr. McManus. It was an absolutely riveting class – I had superficial knowledge of the Holocaust from my fourth-grade history unit, but this class took it to a whole new level. In addition to learning about concepts like “perpetrator culture” and the stages of a genocide, the class’s impact was further augmented by our trip to Lviv, Ukraine. Following Fr. Desbois, we visited mass graves of Holocaust victims, interviewed witnesses, and examined the legacy of the Holocaust in Ukraine. I still find myself flipping through our syllabus, reminding myself of our readings and the discussions; so much of this class informed me of my studies as well as my how I might translate my academic pursuits into meaningful forms of service.

Q: You have just won a Raines award to research incels this summer. Congratulations! Can you tell us about how you developed this research interest and what you hope to accomplish this summer?

A: I was inspired to pursue my research into incels (involuntary celibates) when I attended Professor Bruce Hoffman’s talk on incels and their interaction with online far-right groups this January. When Professor Hoffman detailed key incel rhetoric and jargon, I was struck by how common these features were in everyday social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. After doing some research, I found that there was a group of Asian incels separate from the mainstream, predominantly white “inceldom.” Despite being thoroughly disturbed by their violently misogynistic rhetoric, especially against Asian women, I was drawn to studying them, as they embodied a very unique space in online extremism and radicalization. They not only juggled a multitude of identities (e.g. race, gender expression), but also showed no noticeable violent strain like their mainstream counterpart. By conducting a comparative analysis between Asian and mainstream inceldoms, my research hopes to make sense of why that might be.

My summer will be spent following the incel movement on social media forums, Zoom-interviewing experts in the field of terrorism and extremism, and drinking lots of cold brew! I’m so excited to see where this research will take me.

Q: Another amazing development in your academic career was your acceptance to Oxford’s study abroad program. Can you tell me a bit about the opportunity, why you applied, and what you anticipate for the fall?

A: The Oxford study abroad program is an opportunity for Georgetown juniors to spend an entire year at the University of Oxford. The selection process is a bit different from other study abroad programs in that it requires applicants to receive a university nomination from Georgetown before they can apply to Oxford; this means that applicants start preparing in early September!

Oxford didn’t really enter my mind until the beginning of my sophomore year. Since I’m an international student, I was always a bit hesitant to go abroad (or, as my dad jokes, go “abroad-abroad”). However, while researching possible study abroad destinations, I was immediately drawn to the University of Oxford. Not only is the campus absolutely gorgeous (always a plus if you’re going to be anywhere other than the Hilltop), but it also affords students the opportunity to engage in the famous Oxford tutorial system. The one-on-one tutorial system was definitely a big push factor because I wanted to explore a more intimate learning experience than ones usually offered in American universities. And, as someone who used to be a classical singer, I was also intrigued by the possibility of joining (or at least attending live performances of) Oxford’s famous choirs.

Due to the current pandemic, my study abroad plans are a bit up in the air; that being said, if I am allowed to go to Oxford, I plan on studying violent ethnopolitical conflicts and their influence on post-conflict democratic processes. In particular, I hope to investigate ideological and philosophical thoughts around ethnicity and how they contribute to violent state disintegration and formation. Going to Oxford this fall seems a bit unrealistic at the moment given the COVID-19 situation, but I’m hoping that I will get to take classes with my tutors online and arrive on campus during the second term.

Q: How has the CJC informed your time at Georgetown?

A: I’ve been very fortunate to call this incredibly community my on-campus family since my first semester on the Hilltop. It’s where I go almost every day to chat with my friends, check in with my favorite professors, or discuss cover letters and career opportunities with its stellar staff. The CJC has introduced me to some of my favorite classes, amazing academic mentors (in both professors and students), and an unbeatable support system. I’ve also found that CJC people are the first I turn to for advice, encouragement, and celebration, whatever the occasion may be.

Q: What are some of your professional goals for the future? What do you look forward during your next few years at Georgetown?

A: Looking forward to the next few years on the Hilltop, I hope to continue my studies in violent ethnopolitical conflicts and extremism. I’ve also been planning to apply for the accelerated degree program for the Security Studies Program, which I believe will help further my academic and professional interests.

Q: What are some other clubs you’re involved in and activities you engage in at Georgetown?

A: I’m currently a regular contributor for the Caravel, a barista at Uncommon Grounds (a branch of Students of Georgetown, Inc.), and a TA for the Map of the Modern World. When I’m not chatting up a storm in the CJC or frantically brewing coffee during UG rush hour, you can find me religiously avoiding the gym or strolling down to Compass Coffee on Wisconsin Avenue.

Yebin Won (SFS '22) in Ukraine with the CJC's Holocaust Forensics Class (2018).
Yebin Won (SFS ’22) in Ukraine with the CJC’s Holocaust Forensics Class (2019).

RSVP for “Covid-19 and Conspiracy,” with Prof. Ira Forman!

The Center for Jewish Civilization invites you to Professor Ira Forman’s virtual lecture, “Covid-19 and Conspiracy: the Latest Manifestation of Conspiracy” RSVP to the lecture here! 

Professor Ira Forman’s virtual lecture will be accessible to all viewers via Zoom. Zoom invitations will be emailed to all those who RSVP. 

About the event:

Since the beginning of recorded history human beings have reacted to complex, societal catastrophes by spinning conspiracy theories. These theories posit simple explanations for bad things happening. Over the last 2,000+ years of Western civilization the simple explanation for all manner of misfortune is frequently “the Jews.” The Covid-19 pandemic is no exception.

Since the very beginning of the pandemic some Americans have blamed China for the catastrophe and as a result, Asian-Americans of all nationalities have been harassed and attacked. But globally it did not take long for antisemites to cook up conspiracy theories about Jewish malevolence behind the spread of the virus. Where do these ideas come from and how are they impacting global Jewish communities who, even before coronavirus, were experiencing a wave of resurgent antisemitism?

About the speaker:

Professor Ira N. Forman is a Senior Fellow on Anti-Semitism at the Center for Jewish Civilization and a Senior Fellow at the Moment Institute. In the fall of 2018, he was appointed Senior Advisor on Anti-Semitism at Human Rights First.

Forman served as the State Department’s Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism from 2013-2017. From 2011-2012 he served as the Jewish Outreach Director for the Obama for America campaign. He also served for nearly 15 years as the Executive Director of the National Jewish Democratic Council (NJDC).

Forman received his B.A. from Harvard University where he graduated Magna Cum Laude in Government. He received his M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. He co-edited and wrote for the reference book Jews In American Politics.

***This event is online only. RSVP is required. Only those who register will receive the Zoom link to access the lecture.

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Accommodation requests related to a disability should be sent to cjcinfo@georgetown.edu by April 20th. A good-faith effort will be made to fulfill requests. A captioned version of this presentation will also be made available shortly afterwards at cjc.georgetown.edu.

Thank you for your interest in “Covid-19 and Conspiracy.” Please note that the CJC reserves the right to cancel this virtual lecture in the event of any major changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. We prioritize the health of our audience foremost, and hope that this online event will foster a sense of community as we transition to a virtual environment. 

Our Fall 2020 Course Lineup Is Here!

The Center for Jewish Civilization is pleased to announce its Fall 2020 courses!

Holocaust Courses

International Affairs / Diplomacy Courses 

Humanities and Jewish Studies Courses 

Required Certificate / Minor Courses 

  • “Introduction to Jewish Civilization (Great Jewish Texts Through Space and Time),” Prof. Meital Orr, JCIV 199 / INAF 199
  • “JCIV Senior Colloquium,” Prof. Anna Sommer, JCIV 443

Hebrew Language 

  • “Intensive Beginning Modern Hebrew I,” Prof. Sara Grayson, HEBR 011
  • “Intermediate Modern Hebrew I,” Prof. Meital Orr, HEBR 021
  • “Advanced Modern Hebrew I,” Prof. Sara Grayson, HEBR 101

RSVP for “Terrorism’s Terrible Price: Assassination of Lorde Moyne and Palestine’s Lost Opportunity for Peace” on Zoom!

The Center for Jewish Civilization invites you to Dr. Bruce Hoffman’s virtual lecture, “Terrorism’s Terrible Price: Assassination of Lord Moyne and Palestine’s Lost Opportunity for Peace.” RSVP to the lecture here! 

Dr. Bruce Hoffman’s virtual lecture will be accessible to all viewers via Zoom. Zoom invitations will be emailed to all those who RSVP. 

About the speaker:

Dr. Bruce Hoffman has been studying terrorism and insurgency for over four decades. He is a tenured professor in Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and until recently was director of its Center for Security Studies and Security Studies Program. Hoffman is also visiting Professor of Terrorism Studies at St Andrews University, Scotland. He previously held the Corporate Chair in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency at the RAND Corporation, where he was also director of RAND’s Washington Office and vice president for external affairs. Hoffman was appointed by the U.S. Congress as a commissioner on the 9/11 Review Commission and has been Scholar-in-Residence for Counterterrorism at the Central Intelligence Agency; adviser on counterterrorism to the Coalition Provisional Authority, Baghdad, Iraq; and, an adviser on counterinsurgency to Multi-National Forces-Iraq Headquarters, Baghdad, Iraq. Hoffman’s most recent books include The Evolution of the Global Terrorist Threat (2014); Anonymous Soldiers (2015); and, Inside Terrorism (3rd edition, 2017). Hoffman is currently a Wilson Center Global Fellow, a visiting senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior fellow at the U.S. Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center.

RSVP is strongly encouraged.

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Any person with an accommodation request is welcome to email us at cjcinfo@georgetown.edu. We will try to meet these accommodation requests to the best of our ability.

Thank you for your interest in “Terrorism’s Terrible Price.” Please note that the CJC reserves the right to cancel this virtual lecture in the event of any major changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. We prioritize the health of our audience foremost, and hope that this online event will foster a sense of community as we transition to a virtual environment. 

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Missed our event? 

A recording of Professor Hoffman’s “Terrorism’s Terrible Price: Assassination of Lorde Moyne and Palestine’s Last Opportunity for Peace,” can now be viewed using this link

RSVP for “Jewish Women in the Arts!”

The Center for Jewish Civilization and Georgetown Jewish Life invite you to our discussion, “Jewish Women in the Arts”  at the Intercultural Center (ICC), Room 301 McGhee Library. RSVP to the discussion here! 

About this event:

In the last decade within the ultra-Orthodox Jewish world, a new market of “women only” productions in films, theatre and music has emerged in response to the democratization of Internet and access to technology. A conversation between Dr. Jessica Roda and artist Malky Weingarten, this event covers this growing market in North America and its economic, social, and cultural implications in order to rethink feminism and women’s agency in the 21st century. The interview will take place on Wednesday, February 26, at 3:30 PM at McGhee Library (ICC 301).  

About the speaker:

Trained at the School of Visual Art in New York and at the New York Film Academy, Malky Weingarten is a Frum Female Filmaker. A Hasidic artist from Borough Park, she pioneered the genre of kosher films for only women and girls. Her films are distributed throughout North America, Europe, and Israel. She is consistently investing in artistic expressions through participating in disability rights activism, as well as social and cultural actions in the orthodox worlds.

Dr. Jessica Roda joined the CJC in the fall of 2018 as an Assistant Professor of Jewish Civilization. She is an anthropologist and ethnomusicologist trained in European and North American schools and has published several peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and a monograph (Se réinventer au present. Les Judéo-espagnols de France, 2018, Presses Universitaires de Rennes) on the political implications of Sephardic and Arab-Jewish music in France, Spain, and Morocco. Dr. Roda is currently working on a second manuscript based on her ethnography of Hasidic life in Montreal and New York City (Beyond the Sheitl: Jewish Women and Performances in the Digital Age). She teaches the courses, “Music, Politics, and International Affairs,” “Muslims and Jews. New Perspectives,” and “Mapping Jewish life in North America.”

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Any person with an accommodation request is welcome to email us at cjcinfo@georgetown.edu. We will try to meet these accommodation requests to the best of our ability.

RSVP for “Widen the Window,” with Dr. Elizabeth Stanley!

Join the Center for Jewish Civilization for a discussion on Widen the Window: Training Your Brain and Body to Thrive During Stress and Recover from Trauma by Dr. Stanley. RSVP here!

About the Book:

Stress is our internal response to an experience that our brain perceives as threatening or challenging. Trauma is our response to an experience in which we feel powerless or lacking agency. Until now, researchers have treated these conditions as different, but they actually lie along a continuum. Dr. Elizabeth Stanley explains the significance of this continuum, how it affects our resilience in the face of challenge, and why an event that’s stressful for one person can be traumatizing for another.

This groundbreaking book examines the cultural norms that impede resilience in America, especially our collective tendency to disconnect stress from its potentially extreme consequences and override our need to recover. It explains the science of how to direct our attention to perform under stress and recover from trauma. RSVP for Dr. Stanley’s informative talk on our eventbrite. The event will take place at ICC 301 (McGhee Library)

About the Author:

Elizabeth A. Stanley, PhD, is an associate professor of security studies at Georgetown University. She is the creator of Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness Training (MMFT)®, taught to thousands in civilian and military high-stress environments. MMFT® research has been featured on 60 Minutes, ABC Evening News, NPR, and in Time magazine and many other media outlets. An award-winning author and U.S. Army veteran with service in Asia and Europe, she holds degrees from Yale, Harvard, and MIT. She’s also is a certified practitioner of Somatic Experiencing, a body-based trauma therapy.

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Any person with an accommodation request is welcome to email us at cjcinfo@georgetown.edu. We will try to meet these accommodation requests to the best of our ability.

The CJC Looks Back at “Rabbinic Practice in LGBTQ Allyship”

The Center for Jewish Civilization was pleased to host “Rabbinic Practice in LGBTQ Allyship” with Rabbi Mike Moskowitz on Wednesday, January 22. Rabbi Moskowitz lectured on opportunities that Orthodox Jewish communities have to advocate for LGBTQ issues. “The greatest advancements for modern LGBT inclusivity and equality,” stated Rabbi Moskowitz, “have come from the availability of people being able to tell their own stories.” 

About the Speaker

Rabbi Mike Moskowitz is the Scholar-in-Residence for Trans and Queer Jewish Studies at Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, the world’s largest LGBT synagogue. He is a deeply traditional and radically progressive advocate for trans rights and a vocal ally for LGBTQ inclusivity. Rabbi Moskowitz received three Ultra-Orthodox ordinations while learning in the Mir in Jerusalem and in Beth Medrash Govoha in Lakewood, NJ. He is a David Hartman Center Fellow and the author of ​Textual Activism​. His writings can be found at​ ​www.rabbimikemoskowitz.com.  

“Rabbinic Practice in LGBTQ Allyship” in the News!

Missed Rabbi Mike Moskowitz’s lecture? Have no fear! A recap of Rabbi Moskowitz’s lecture can be found in a recent edition of The Hoya. Read the article, “Rabbi Urges LGBTQ Allyship Within Jewish Community,” here

RSVP to the CJC’s First Event of the Semester!

The Center for Jewish Civilization invites you to Rabbi Mike Moskowitz’s lecture, “Rabbinic Practice in LGBTQ Allyship.” RSVP to the event here!

About the Lecture 

This lecture will explore issues pertaining to the LGBTQ community in relation to Orthodox Judaism and Jewish thought. It will also deal with the practical questions that are most commonly asked and the approaches that are currently being deployed in rabbinic allyship and Jewish Law. Be sure to save your seat using our eventbrite. 

About the Speaker 

Rabbi Moskowitz was assigned secular, then identified as ultra-orthodox for twenty years, and now embraces a religiously non-conforming identity. He has the cultural competency and language to translate beyond the words of the text and to hear the intentionality in the rabbinic voice speaking for social justice and inclusivity.

Rabbi Moskowitz has three ultra-orthodox rabbinic ordinations. He spent a decade in the largest yeshivas in the world and studied the entire Babylonian Talmud. He founded and headed a kollel – a sacred think tank, served as a rabbi at Columbia University, and of a congregation in Harlem. Rabbi Moskowitz explored academic Talmud at Yale and at Jewish Theological Seminary, where he is currently completing a Doctorate in Hebrew Literature. As one of the leading thinkers at the intersection of trans issues and Jewish thought, he is a sought after lecturer, educator, and researcher.

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Any person with an accommodation request is welcome to email us at cjcinfo@georgetown.edu. We will try to meet these accommodation requests to the best of our ability.

The CJC’s Spring 2020 Events Lineup Is Here!

The Center for Jewish Civilization is pleased to announce its Spring 2020 Public events lineup!  Any person with an accommodation request is welcome to email us at cjcinfo@georgetown.edu. We will try to meet these accommodation requests to the best of our ability.

January

“Rabbinic Practice in LGBTQ Allyship,” with Rabbi Mike Moskowitz 

January 22, 3:30 PM – Arrupe Hall Multipurpose Room 

This lecture will explore the general issues that homosexuality and transgender experiences raise for Orthodox Judaism and Jewish thought. It will also deal with the practical questions that are most commonly asked and the approaches that are currently being deployed in rabbinic allyship and Jewish Law. 

Rabbi Mike Moskowitz has three ultra-orthodox rabbinic ordinations. He spent a decade in the largest yeshivas in the world and studied the entire Babylonian Talmud. He founded and headed a kollel – a sacred think tank, served as a rabbi at Columbia University, and of a congregation in Harlem. Rabbi Moskowitz explored academic Talmud at Yale and at Jewish Theological Seminary, where he is currently completing a Doctorate in Hebrew Literature. As one of the leading thinkers at the intersection of trans issues and Jewish thought, he is a sought after lecturer, educator, and researcher.

February 

Widen the Window: Training Your Brain and Body to Thrive During Stress and Recover from Trauma” with Dr. Elizabeth Stanley

February 6, 3:30 PM – Intercultural Center, Room 301 (McGhee Library)

Stress is our internal response to an experience that our brain perceives as threatening or challenging. Trauma is our response to an experience in which we feel powerless or lacking agency. Until now, researchers have treated these conditions as different, but they actually lie along a continuum. Dr. Elizabeth Stanley explains the significance of this continuum, how it affects our resilience in the face of challenge, and why an event that’s stressful for one person can be traumatizing for another.

This groundbreaking book examines the cultural norms that impede resilience in America, especially our collective tendency to disconnect stress from its potentially extreme consequences and override our need to recover. It explains the science of how to direct our attention to perform under stress and recover from trauma.

Elizabeth A. Stanley, PhD, is an associate professor of security studies at Georgetown University. She is the creator of Mindfulness-Based Mind Fitness Training (MMFT)®, taught to thousands in civilian and military high-stress environments. MMFT® research has been featured on 60 Minutes, ABC Evening News, NPR, and in Time magazine and many other media outlets. An award-winning author and U.S. Army veteran with service in Asia and Europe, she holds degrees from Yale, Harvard, and MIT. She’s also is a certified practitioner of Somatic Experiencing, a body-based trauma therapy.

March

“Attitudes Towards Jews in Contemporary East Asia and Their Implications,” with Dr. Rotem Kowner 

March 26, 3:30 PM – Mortara Center for International Studies 

Dr. Rotem Kowner is a professor of Japanese history and culture at the University of Haifa, Israel. His background includes early childhood in a Kibbutz, military service as an executive officer aboard a missile boat, and work as a chef in an Italian restaurant in Melbourne. Kowner’s active interest in Japan has developed gradually. After majoring in East Asian studies and psychology in Jerusalem, he studied in Berlin and then moved to Tsukuba, Japan, where he obtained his Ph.D. Following postdoctoral studies at Stanford he returned to Israel to pursue an academic career. His research interests include wartime behavior in modern Japan, race and racism in East Asia, Asian Jewish communities, psychological aspects of intercultural encounters, and learning methods of Japanese scripts.

“Assassination of Lord Moyne and Palestine’s Lost Opportunity for Peace”

March 31, 5:00 PM – Mortara Center for International Studies 

Dr. Bruce Hoffman has been studying terrorism and insurgency for over four decades. He is a tenured professor in Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service and until recently was director of its Center for Security Studies and Security Studies Program. Hoffman is also visiting Professor of Terrorism Studies at St Andrews University, Scotland. He previously held the Corporate Chair in Counterterrorism and Counterinsurgency at the RAND Corporation, where he was also director of RAND’s Washington Office and vice president for external affairs. Hoffman was appointed by the U.S. Congress as a commissioner on the 9/11 Review Commission and has been Scholar-in-Residence for Counterterrorism at the Central Intelligence Agency; adviser on counterterrorism to the Coalition Provisional Authority, Baghdad, Iraq; and, an adviser on counterinsurgency to Multi-National Forces-Iraq Headquarters, Baghdad, Iraq. Hoffman’s most recent books include The Evolution of the Global Terrorist Threat (2014); Anonymous Soldiers (2015); and, Inside Terrorism (3rd edition, 2017). Hoffman is currently a Wilson Center Global Fellow, a visiting senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a senior fellow at the U.S. Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center.

CJC ExCo Spotlight: Professor Andrew Sobanet’s Work Selected for H-France Forum

The Center for Jewish Civilization’s ExCo member Professor Andrew Sobanet’s work, Generation Stalin: French Writers, the Fatherland, and the Cult of Personality, was recently selected for the prestigious H-France Forum! Read more about the H-Forum here

About Professor Andrew Sobanet 

Andrew Sobanet is a Professor in the Department of French and Francophone Studies at Georgetown University. His research focuses primarily on the intersection of politics and literature. His research interests include the twentieth-century novel, testimony, mass media, and European history. He is the author of Jail Sentences: Representing Prison in Twentieth-Century French Fiction (University of Nebraska Press, 2008) and Generation Stalin: French Writers, the Fatherland, and the Cult of Personality (Indiana University Press, 2018). He has also published widely on Vichy France. Since 2011, he has been associate editor of the journal Contemporary French Civilization. He served as chair of the Department of French and Francophone studies from 2009 to 2015 and again in 2018-19. Additionally, he served as convenor of Georgetown’s Faculty of Languages and Linguistics in 2014-15.

About Generation Stalin

From Indiana University Press: 

Generation Stalin traces Joseph Stalin’s rise as a dominant figure in French political culture from the 1930s through the 1950s. Andrew Sobanet brings to light the crucial role French writers played in building Stalin’s cult of personality and in disseminating Stalinist propaganda in the international Communist sphere, including within the USSR. Based on a wide array of sources—literary, cinematic, historical, and archival—Generation Stalin situates in a broad cultural context the work of the most prominent intellectuals affiliated with the French Communist Party, including Goncourt winner Henri Barbusse, Nobel laureate Romain Rolland, renowned poet Paul Eluard, and canonical literary figure Louis Aragon. Generation Stalin arrives at a pivotal moment, with the Stalin cult and elements of Stalinist ideology resurgent in twenty-first-century Russia and authoritarianism on the rise around the world.